(Brassica oleracea or variants) is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is closely related to other cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
Cabbage plants perform best when grown in well-drained soil in a location that receives full sun. Different varieties prefer different soil types, ranging from lighter sand to heavier clay, but all prefer fertile ground. Early varieties of Cabbage take about 70 days from planting to reach maturity, while late varieties take about 120 days. Once mature, Cabbage heads generally range from 0.5 to 4kgs and can be green, purple or white and are mature when they are firm and solid to the touch. They are harvested by cutting the stalk just below the bottom leaves with a blade. The outer leaves are trimmed, and any diseased, damaged, or necrotic leaves are removed.
Savoy Cabbage – Characterized by crimped or curly leaves, mild flavour and tender texture
Spring Cabbage – Loose-headed, commonly sliced and steamed
Green Cabbage – Light to dark green, slightly pointed heads.
White Cabbage (Dutch Cabbage) – Smooth, pale green leaves
Red Cabbage– Smooth red leaves, often used for pickling or stewing. It is often used raw for salads and coleslaw, but it can also be eaten cooked. It is the traditional accompanying side dish paired with many German meals—most notably, Sauerbraten. At Christmas it can be spiced and served as an accompaniment to seasonal roast goose. Red Cabbage has 10 times more vitamin A and twice as much iron as green cabbage.
Cabbages were most likely domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC, although Savoys were not developed until the 16th century. By the Middle Ages, it had become a prominent part of European cuisine. Almost half the Cabbages grown come from China, where Chinese Cabbage is the most popular Brassica vegetable. Cabbages are prepared in many different ways for eating. They can be pickled, fermented for dishes such as sauerkraut, steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw. Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and dietary fibre. The Greeks were convinced that Cabbages were detrimental to grapevines and should not be grown close together as Cabbages planted too near the vine would impart an unwelcome odour to the grapes. This Mediterranean sense of antipathy still survives today. The Greeks and Romans claimed medicinal usages for their Cabbage variety included relief from gout, headaches and the symptoms of poisonous mushroom ingestion. The antipathy towards the vine made it seem that eating Cabbage would avoid drunkenness. When round-headed Cabbages appeared in 14th-century England they were called cabaches and caboches, words drawn from Old French. Many Cabbage varieties—including some still commonly grown—were introduced in Germany, France, and the Low Countries and Sauerkraut was eaten by Dutch sailors to prevent scurvy during long ship voyages.